Nowadays one single blogger or vlogger may reach a lot larger audience than an established media outlet. The concept of “throwing too much money” at influencers did not prove to be the case in Altimeter’s study as it surveyed marketers actively treating influencer marketing as an integrated strategy. 34% of influencer marketing campaigns are between $0-$5,000 and only 7% of campaigns are over $100,000 with 14% of marketers paying influencers in product versus monetary compensation.

Based on our agency’s experience of blogger relations here’s our checklist for your blogger relations.

1 Are you ready to compensate for good work?

Bloggers are no longer handing out freebies. Blogging has become a profession and bloggers are often part of blogger networks. In short, be prepared to pay for the visibility. However, you might get lucky and get blog posts free of charge by organizing exclusive events or sending your bloggers to visits abroad, but there are no guarantees for visibility. Based on Altimeter’s study 72% of influencers state that brands offering inadequate compensation is the biggest mistake being made today.

2 Could you use your PR agency as buffer between blogger and your company?

The advantage of having an agency managing your blogger relations is that your agency can work as a buffer between the brand and the talent. The agency can also work as single-point of contact for your blogger relations instead of your marketing, social media and PR teams running campaigns by themselves without common objectives or coordination. Remaining neutral and objective keeps all venues for creativity open.  Many bloggers are quite open to marketing cooperation, but they want to keep their own style. Do not feed them with your own articles, but let them use their own creativity. Ask them what works best for their audience.

3. Can you create a natural tie-in with traditional PR?

Campaigns can be planned to be cross-platform. Influencer marketing and traditional PR can often overlap naturally. The themes and messages of traditional PR activations can be tied in with blogger and vlogger activations. However, let the blogger again do the magic and find the best way to share the message for his/her audience.

4. Are you working sporadically or on long-term basis?

Social media influencer relations must expand beyond the boundaries of single campaigns and activations. Long term success demands a continuous and active presence. Do not try to work sporadically with some of the bloggers or even worse as many as possible, but choose a few who are the best match for you and invest in them. Remember to draw up a contract with the chosen bloggers with clear deliverables, so both sides know their responsibilities.

5. Should you use a blogger network or not?

One of the hottest topics in the recent influencer seminars that I’ve joined has been whether to cooperate with bloggers directly or through blogger networks. In long-term I would rather be cooperating with a blogger directly but the networks are a great asset when you’re starting your path in influencer relations. They will be able to recommend you the right bloggers for your target audiences and additionally secure that you will get return on your investment. I would also recommend using networks if you intend only to run influencer campaigns and not putting together a long-term influencer program.

6. Does the blogger’s audience know about your cooperation?

Influencers often have massive audiences, most of which consist of youths and children. While most influencers work with good intentions to promote brands, your job is to maintain transparency about the marketing communications that is taking place. Failing to be transparent may lead to PR issues and even legal repercussions in the future when marketing laws are updated to accommodate the evolving social media marketing landscape.

Do you have comments or questions? Let discuss:

Toni Perez is the CEO of Finnish public relations agency OSG Communications, which drives visibility and preference for national and international brands such as Samsung, Sodexo, Dassault Systèmes, Cramo, SAS Institute and Nutricia Medical. He spoke at the EACD breakfast seminar, How to build a successful influencer program: for similar upcoming EACD events can be found in our online calendar.